The company dismissed Gunn from his latest installment of the high-profile Guardians of the Galaxy films he writes and directs, for a series of offensive tweets he wrote between 2009 and 2012 on Friday, in the middle of the San Diego Comic-Con. While Gunn had deleted the messages — in which he joked about pedophilia, rape, homophobia, and transphobia — two conservative pundits dug them up, seemingly in retaliation for Gunn’s criticism of President Trump.
Gunn apologized for the posts before he was fired, but the media giant behind the blockbuster Guardians franchise was not having it.
“The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James’s Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values, and we have severed our business relationship with him,” Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn said in a statement.
On Sunday, Goldthwait called out Disney for cutting ties with Gunn, whom he called a “loyal friend, super talented, passionate and kind.”
I love @jamesgunn. He’s a loyal friend, super talented, passionate and kind. I wanted to say something, here it is: Dear @disney, I would hate for you to come off as hypocritical so I’m suggesting that you remove my voice from an attraction that’s coming to your park. It’s called WORLD OF COLOR – VILLAINOUS, and I reprise the role of Pain, a role I played in HERCULES. You see here’s the deal, years ago I made a lot of sarcastically shocking and offensive jokes. Many that I’m embarrassed about now, and I’d hate to make you guys look bad seeing that I’m openly critical of the president and his administration, and you seem to be taking your lead from some of his radical fringe supporters. I think James Woods may have recorded a voice for this new attraction, too. Why not check out some of his whacky past tweets?! They’re a hoot! For the record I do stand with survivors of sexual abuse and I was wondering if you guys are still making money off of your movie POWDER? Asking for a friend. Thanks, Bobcat
A post shared by Bobcat Goldthwait (@bobcatgoldthwait) on Jul 22, 2018 at 1:27pm PDT
Goldthwait also suggested the company remove his voice from an upcoming Disney theme park attraction featuring his character, Pain, from the animated flick Hercules. As Goldthwait put it, he’s made “a lot of sarcastically shocking and offensive jokes,” over the years. He noted, “Many that I’m embarrassed about now, and I’d hate to make you guys look bad seeing that I’m openly critical of the president and his administration, and you seem to be taking your lead from some of his radical fringe supporters.”
Goldthwait made sure to note that James Woods, who regularly tweets in support of far-right politics, also provides a voice for Hercules and might have recorded his voice for the new attraction.
Then Goldthwait made a reference to the 1995 live-action Disney movie Powder. Victor Salva, the director of that film, was sentenced to three years in state prison in 1988 for sexually abusing a 12-year-old boy who worked on his movies, according to the Los Angeles Times. Filmmakers said they didn’t know about Salva’s conviction until they were halfway done with the project. Salva then apologized and was allowed to keep his job, although he was reportedly watched on the set after the revelation.
Goldthwait is hardly the only celebrity standing by Gunn. Guardians stars, including Zoe Saldana, sent their support too.
It’s been a challenging weekend I’m not gonna lie. I’m pausing myself to take everything in before I speak out of term. I just want everyone to know I love ALL members of my GOTG family. Always will.
— Zoe Saldana (@zoesaldana) July 22, 2018
“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters. Let every person be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger.”
— chris pratt (@prattprattpratt) July 22, 2018
I will have more to say but for right now all I will say is this..@JamesGunn is one of the most loving,caring,good natured people I have ever met. He’s gentle and kind and cares deeply for people and animals. He’s made mistakes. We all have. Im NOT ok with what’s happening to him
— Dave Bautista (@DaveBautista) July 21, 2018
What happened here is so much bigger then G3, @JamesGunn ,myself,@Disney etc. This was a #cybernazi attack that succeeded. Unless we start to unite together against this crap, whether people are offended are not! …it’s going to get much worse. And it can happen to anyone https://t.co/AMZEd0tfqb
— Dave Bautista (@DaveBautista) July 22, 2018
Sean Gunn (James Gunn’s brother)
It goes without saying that I love and support my brother James and I’m quite proud of how kind, generous, and compassionate he is with all the people in his life. Since he was a kid, it was clear he had a desire (maybe destiny) to be an artist, tell stories, find his voice through comics, films, his band. The struggle to find that voice was sometimes clunky, misguided, or downright stupid, and sometimes wonderful, moving, and hilarious. Since devoting his entire life to the Guardians movies and MCU six years ago, I’ve seen him channel that voice into his work and seen him transform from the guy who made up things to shock people. I saw firsthand as he went from worrying about “softening his edge” for a larger audience to realizing that this “edge” wasn’t as useful of a tool as he thought it was. That his gift for storytelling was something better. I saw that he was more open-hearted than the guy who thought he needed to get a rise out of people by making nasty or offensive jokes (or whatever you choose to call them—I don’t think his bluer material was ever his funniest and neither does Mom). And the best part is, this change in my brother was reflected in the change that the Guardians go through. I’ve heard my brother say many times that when Quill rallies the team with “this is our chance to give a shit”—to care—that it’s the pep talk he himself needed to hear. It’s part of what made working on the Guardians movies such a rewarding experience for the cast. We managed to find ourselves involved in a big-budget superhero movie that was, at its core, deeply personal. That’s a gift. And that’s why it’s good. This isn’t new information, by the way. It’s all stuff that James has explained many times in interviews, in more detail and more eloquently. It’s not some new spin. It’s always been part of this story. So I guess my hope is that fans continue to watch and appreciate the Guardians movies, not despite the fact that the filmmaker used to be kind of a jackass, but because of it. They are, after all, movies about discovering your best self. Working on those movies made my brother a better person, and they made me one too. I’ll always be proud of that. Peace.
A post shared by Sean Gunn (@thejudgegunn) on Jul 21, 2018 at 3:47pm PDT
Love to every single member of my GOTG family.
— Karen Gillan (@karengillan) July 23, 2018
Michael Rooker, who plays Yondu in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, left Twitter altogether in the wake of the scandal.
“This account will be inactive after today,” Rooker posted Sunday. “We’re very tired & upset over the ongoing [issues] … neither I nor my rep will use Twitter again. Twitter sucks and I want nothing to do with it.”
Fans of the series are weighing in too, via a Change.org petition asking Disney to rehire Gunn. Nearly 223,000 people had signed it as of late Monday.
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